Life Advice

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Health

Unplug With a 'Pioneer Night'

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from two physicians with an alcoholic daughter. Al-Anon is the organization that supports friends and families of alcoholics, and Alcoholics Anonymous is support for the individual with a drinking problem. You recommended Alcoholics Anonymous.

We were in this couple's shoes recently. Our daughter finally saw an addiction specialist, who prescribed a once-a-month shot to eliminate the desire for alcohol. She took the shot for a year, and it was expensive, but it worked. It's been three years now, and she has no desire to drink. The shot saved her life.

I am sending this letter in the hope that other families can learn of this life-changing, once-a-month shot. -- A Relieved Mother

Dear Relieved Mother: Thank you for sharing a suggestion that saved your daughter's life. Hopefully, it can help others struggling in similar situations. The next letter is from another reader whose family also struggled with addiction.

Dear Annie: I want to address the physicians whose daughter is experiencing advanced alcoholism. Advising that she must "reach a bottom" is conventional wisdom, and it has its place. I would add that empirical studies of alcoholism and addiction have shown that many people recover in stages as their motivation increases.

An excellent source is the book "Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change" by Jeffrey Foote, Carrie Wilkens, Nicole Kosanke and Stephanie Higgs.

 

I have found help with my approach to my loved ones in Al-Anon, and I am a 12-stepper myself for food addiction. Beyond my own experience, I was encouraged when I learned that there are ways that family members can help, besides waiting for the alcoholic or addict to reach a bottom.

In my case, there was heroin addiction in my adult child. A lot of times, this addiction will kill a person before he or she "hits bottom." I learned ways to change my own attitudes and behaviors. I was helped also by the Center for Motivation and Change in New York City, which made available to me trained lay counselors over the phone for free. They can be found online.

I was not the cause of my adult child's recovery; that is between the person and God. But I was able to help, and there were moments when I was the catalyst for a step in the right direction.

I am grateful today that my child lives with sobriety, grateful more than I can express. My heart goes out to other parents and partners of suffering people. I have intact adult children and a beautiful grandchild. -- A Friend in Pennsylvania

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